Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have 84 points. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ ‘biggest game’ of season could vault them into playoff spot

BUFFALO – In reality, it’s a single game for the Sabres, one of 82 regular-season contests. Tonight’s anticipated eight-versus-nine tilt in Washington is potentially worth two points for them, just like any other game.

If the Sabres win, break their tie with the Capitals (84 points) and move into eighth place, they could quickly lose the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot again. Don’t forget, they stayed there less than a day after grabbing it Saturday.... Read the full article

©2012

Scorching Sabres down Wild, roar into eighth place

BUFFALO – Beaten down, broken and seemingly finished at several points this season, the Sabres’ tight 3-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday – their 18th win in 28 tries – bumped the scorching club into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.

On Feb. 17, the Sabres fell into the cellar, nine points out of the last postseason spot.

If the Sabres, who lead ninth-place Washington by two points (84-82), hold on, the ... Read the full article

©2012

Miller’s shutout over Habs has Sabres sniffing playoff spot

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ shocking resurgence – one that’s vaulted them from the Eastern Conference basement to a points tie with eighth-place Washington in 33 days – can be attributed to several factors.

The banged-up defense corps has stayed healthy and locked down. Several slumping stars have started scoring again, giving the team a secondary scoring attack. A few youngsters have contributed immediately upon their arrival from Rochester.

Most notably, though, Ryan Miller began playing ... Read the full article

Illness has sidelined Andrej Sekera the last five games. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sekera’s return could force a Sabres defenseman out

BUFFALO – Ten days ago, as Andrej Sekera was preparing for warm-ups prior to the Sabres’ tilt against Carolina, the defenseman began feeling ill.

“Just came out of nowhere,” Sekera said Friday after practicing inside the First Niagara Center. “My stomach hurt before the game, and then it just hit me – fever, headaches.”

Sekera sat that game, and then hoped to play two nights later in Ottawa.

Instead, the Slovak’s condition “got worse and ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres shake off awful start, beat Hurricanes in OT

BUFFALO – In the first period Wednesday, after the lethargic Sabres coasted back during a power play and nearly fell behind 2-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes, Lindy Ruff finally had enough.

When the guilty players reached the bench, the coach reamed them out.

“The first period, it wasn’t a great period on our part,” Ruff said following the Sabres’ 3-2 overtime triumph inside the First Niagara Center. “Some of it was execution. Some of it ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres positioned for unlikely run at postseason

BUFFALO – Go ahead, pick the dates the underachieving Sabres appeared finished and primed to play out the string for a lottery pick.

There are plenty, you know.

There was that embarrassing 5-0 dismantling Jan. 16 in Detroit, after which an emotional Ryan Miller said a trade wouldn’t help the Sabres. Two nights later, the Blackhawks throttled them 6-2 in Chicago, the third of five straight losses on a six game-trip.

On Feb. 16, the ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville, who usually starts seasons slowly, compiled 14 points in October. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Pominville showcasing dynamic consistency

BUFFALO – Sixty games into the season, Jason Pominville hasn’t shown any signs of letting up. With five points in the last two contests, the Sabres captain already has 23 goals and 59 points, seven more than he had all of last season in 13 fewer appearances.

In a disappointing year for the Sabres, Pominville’s been the only constant presence, showcasing a remarkable consistency right from opening night, when a goal and two assists began ... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres pounce on Isles early, hold on for tight win

BUFFALO – The Sabres, rested and waiting for the New York Islanders, would’ve had no excuses for losing Tuesday. Not against a team that had been humiliated 6-0 at home the previous afternoon. Not with Kevin Poulin, the rookie goaltender that had lasted just two minutes into his start, getting another nod.

The Isles looked ripe to be exploited inside the First Niagara Center.

Sure enough, the Sabres capitalized early. Tyler Myers scored just 1:21 ... Read the full article

Nathan Gerbe's goal scoring has dropped dramatically this season. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Gerbe developing into strong checker as offense vanishes

BUFFALO – Sabres sophomore Nathan Gerbe – the collegiate scoring machine, AHL star and NHL rookie that tallied at a 30-goal pace the second half of last season – has five scores this season, just one in the last 21 games.

Right now, the diminutive Gerbe’s not a scorer; he’s quickly morphed into a strong checker, playing a tenacious left wing on a line with Paul Gaustad and Patrick Kaleta that draws the opposition’s best.... Read the full article

©2012

Sabres showcase early-season form, throttle Pens

BUFFALO – On Sunday morning, shortly before the Sabres began their 6-2 shellacking of Pittsburgh, coach Dan Bylsma recalled an earlier defeat the underachieving club had laid on the Penguins.

Back on Oct. 15, the Sabres’ tenacious effort during their 3-2 triumph in Pittsburgh impressed Bylsma, who saw an active, speedy team dictating the game.

Bylsma believed the Sabres would be “a real good team, real dangerous team.” Like many others, he’s stunned they’ve fallen ... Read the full article